12/19/2008 1:00AM

Fatal Bullet hurt, Kentucky Bear retired


Fatal Bullet, who earlier this month was voted Canada's Horse of the Year, suffered a knee injury this past week at Santa Anita while training for the Dec. 26 Malibu Stakes and will be sidelined for at least three months, trainer Reade Baker said Friday.

Baker also said that Kentucky Bear, who finished third in this year's Blue Grass Stakes, had suffered a career-ending injury, also at Santa Anita, and has been retired to stud.

Both Fatal Bullet and Kentucky Bear are 3-year-olds.

"I had three horses out there, those two and a maiden," Baker said Friday morning. "They didn't like that surface, that's for sure. I'm taking the maiden to Palm Meadows. I've got 20 horses there."

Baker, who is based in Toronto, usually spends the winter in Florida. But he had Fatal Bullet in California for the Grade 1, $250,000 Malibu, in large part because Fatal Bullet ran so well at Santa Anita in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, finishing second to Midnight Lute.

"He jammed a knee," Baker said. "There's no fracture. He was going to get a break. I was hoping to do it after the Sunshine Millions. But I'll have to do it now."

Fatal Bullet, a Florida-bred, was eligible to the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint, to be run at Santa Anita on Jan. 24.

Baker said Fatal Bullet would spend the winter recuperating in Ocala, Fla.

"Then I'll take him to Woodbine in the spring," he said.

Fatal Bullet, a gelding, won six times in eight starts this year, including the Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway Park. He was 6 for 7 on synthetic surfaces.

Kentucky Bear won just once in five starts during an ambitious career that found him in four straight graded stakes races following a debut victory against maidens at Gulfstream Park in January.

Kentucky Bear was seventh in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, a troubled sixth in the Preakness, and, in his last start, faded to finish last on a very soft course in the Colonial Turf Cup on June 21.

"He bowed a tendon," Baker said. Although it has yet to be determined where Kentucky Bear will stand at stud next spring, "It looks like he'll go someplace in Ontario," Baker said.